International audit: Czech science funding system must change

14 OCTOBER 2011 Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – An international audit has criticised the system of assessment and funding of science and research in the Czech Republic and concluded that it must change, said the Education Ministry representatives who presented…

14 OCTOBER 2011

Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – An international audit has criticised the system of assessment and funding of science and research in the Czech Republic and concluded that it must change, said the Education Ministry representatives who presented the Technopolis auditing firm’s final report at a conference Thursday.

The auditors mainly challenged low state support and minimal funding of science by the industrial sector. On the contrary, they praised the increasing quality of Czech scientific works.

The Education Ministry’s representatives said the ministry would like to launch a project of a new, more efficient funding of science.

“The final report points to an extremely low share of the industrial sector in the financing of research and development of universities, low research and development efficacy compared to western Europe and low support of institutions compared to international standards,” project guarantor Jitka Moravcova said.

The average state support to research in the EU member states is 2 percent of GDP, while in the Czech Republic it was only 1.53 percent of GDP in 2009.

The EU-funded assessment has been carried since 2010 and the 850-page audit cost 38 million crowns.

It focused on state administration, international cooperation of Czech scientists, the way of distributing money on the basis of publications and quotations as well as the copyright and intellectual property protection.

“The report therefore clearly recommends to abandon the current methodology of research and development results assessment and the mechanical calculation of the level of funding of individual institutions based on it,” the ministry representatives said.

Research institutes should be assessed only after five years to have a chance of showing their strong sides and removing weak points. The powers of the government council for research and development, which was dismissed last week, should also fundamentally change, the audit concluded.

This is why the Education Ministry wants to launch a project of efficient assessment and funding, which will be subsidised by the EU. The preparation of the new system is to last two years and cost 100 million crowns.

Moravcova, on the other hand, pointed out that the public funding of science had increased until the beginning of the economic crisis.

The number of quotations from Czech scientific works has increased six times in the past ten years, but the Czech Republic is still below the European average in the number of publications, she added.